Homeward Bound 2

“Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea — on, on — until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him.” ~ Charles Dickens

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I was a little late getting to Amapondo Backpackers / Amapondo IBackpackers for a sundowner last week as I stopped up the road towards Mthatha to take some snaps. The people, goats and cars were all homeward bound.

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Port St John

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Homeward Bound 1

“Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea — on, on — until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him.” ~ Charles Dickens

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I was a little late getting to Amapondo Backpackers / Amapondo IBackpackers for a sundowner last week as I stopped up the road towards Mthatha to take some snaps. The people, goats and cars were all homeward bound.

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Port St John

Stockville

I have driven through Stockville, west of Durban, a number of times.

Stockville Road, the “main road”, is a “back-road” between Gillits and Pinetown. It is very windy, narrow and littered with potholes.

One cannot help sensing the deep and rich history of the area. A school, old church and tea-room are scattered among smallholdings and some rustic dilapidated houses.

The photos I took do not lend much credibility to the information below and I will certainly need to visit again and get snapping.

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The photos of plant equipment were taken on the edge of neighbouring Westmead, an industrial area, which I believe “swallowed-up” parts of Stockville, Motala Heights and Surprise Farm to come into existence.

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I was unable to find information specifically about the history of Stockville, however, did find a mention of Stockville and some of its nearby neighbours (Pinetown, Marianhill and Mariannridge) on the Ulwazi website as follows:

“Coloured people have lived in the Pinetown area from the time of the Voortrekkers. Many worked as wagon drivers, servants and craftsmen for the Trekkers from the Cape Colony.

After the Siege of the English Fort in Durban in 1842, a Hottentot driver led the wagon of an retreating Boer family which stopped at “Cowies Place” (Cowies Hill) for the night.  Mr Welch’s transport coach from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in the 1850’s, was often driven by a Coloured man, but the unnamed driver did not live in Pinetown.

From the turn of the century, a few families lived as tenants on Mariannhill land, and local children encountered great problems when they wanted to attend school. Children from well known Natal Coloured families attended St. Francis College, at Mariannhill Monastery as boarders. These included members of the Dunn, Ogle, Nunn and Fynn clans.

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In 1910 the Le Blank family from Mauritius settled in Pinetown where Mr Le Blank Wallace worked as a plumber. Young Elizabeth Le Blank was born in 1930, where she grew up, married Mr Rose and remained in Pinetown. Here she played a major role in the improvement of life of the Coloured community.

The 1936 Pinetown population statistics registered 8 Coloureds, which had increased to 33 by 1946. Families preferred the low tenant rates on Mariannhill land beyond the boundaries of central Pinetown. Other families settled on Mr Govender’s land, between what is now Nagina and Dassenhoek.

A large community became tenants of Mr Desai at Umlaas where they lived a farming lifestyle. Among the early settlers families were Mr Couch, Mr Charles and later Mr Joe Louis Bennett. A list of Coloured tenants and land owners from different areas around Pinetown is attached in Appendix 1. All these residents moved to Mariannridge Township.

The Group Areas Act Proclamation 126 of April 1966, expropriated Mariannhill Mission land beyond the Umhlatuzana River, roughly from the Mariannhill Station to the Farm Stockville 1382, for a Coloured township.

An area called Kipi, with its settlement of African homes at Kipitown, under the leadership of Mr Bartle Dube, was within this area.

Displaced Africans were housed at KwaNdengezi across the Umlaas River and in 1968 the Pinetown Borough bought 1800 ha. of the area, for Phase 1 of the development of the Coloured Township of Mariannridge.

Placed on the ridge overlooking Mariannhill Monastery, Mariannridge was named because of it’s geographic location.”

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Further mention of Stockville was again found on Ulwazi in a section about St Wendolin’s:

“Father Francis Pfanner, an Austrian Trappist monk and his followers came to Natal in 1882 from the Cape. Two years of backbreaking work at Dunbrody in the Eastern Cape, had introduced the Trappist to the problems of spreading Christianity in Africa.

A member of the Land Colonization Company in Durban took Father Pfanner to see the farm Zeekoeigat (Hippo pool), 3 miles beyond the farming village of Pinetown. Zeekoeigat had fertile agricultural land straddling the Umhlatuzana River and a view of the Indian Ocean. One of the prominent hills was chosen as the site for a self sustaining monastery complex.

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Father Franz bought the land and, his fellow Trappist monks arrived at the farm on 26th December, 1882. Klaarwater and Stockville two neighbouring farms were later purchased and, incorporated into the monastic lands. Named after the Virgin Mary and her mother St. Anne, the Trappist farm became known as Mariannhill.

The monks set to work erecting buildings, clearing land for farming and following the strict prayer routine of the Trappist Order. Mariannhill School was opened in 1883 and attracted Zulu children from the nearby homesteads.”

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Cato Manor: a history of oppression, riots and now hope

All excerpts below courtesy of Ulwazi with my photos in between shed some light.

“Cato Manor is situated about five kilometers from the centre of Durban, South Africa.

It is an area rich in cultural and political heritage.It was named after Durban’s first mayor, George Christopher Cato. Cato Manor’s first residents, the Indian market gardeners, to whom Cato sold the land, later leased plots to African families prohibited from owning land themselves.

The vibrant, Afro-Indian culture that came into being from this shared space became a trademark of the area. Its Zulu residents knew the warren of shacks, shebeens and shops that grew into Cato Manor as Umkhumbane – named after the stream on whose banks the shantytown sat. Cato Manor survived and thrived for many years as a rough-shewn community in direct contradiction to the Apartheid government’s policy of racial segregation.

Famous residents included musician Sipho Gumede, politician (now president of South Africa) Jacob Zuma, activist Florence Mkhize, businessman Prince Sifiso Zulu, Drum journalist Nat Nakasa and trade unionist George W. Champion who saw Cato Manor as a “place where Durban natives (Africans) could breathe the air of freedom.”

So legendary was its reputation that novelist Alan Paton wrote a play called Umkhumbane set in Cato Manor.

1949 Race Riots: Despite the daily contact between the Indian and African residents, who lived in close proximity to each other, racial tensions did exist. Charges of exorbitant rent where often leveled by Indian landlords against their African tenants who had to cope with terrible living conditions, characterised by intense overcrowding.

Ronnie Govender’s “At the edge” and other Cato Manor Stories describes the 1949 riots, which were sparked off by an incident in Grey Street where an Indian stallholder had caught an African boy stealing and had punished him.

Africans began attacking Indian shops, businesses and residents. The riots quickly escalated into a race-war with some white people stirring up the trouble.

The situation deteriorated with African mobs roaming the streets of Cato Manor attacking Indian residents on sight. That evening the arson, looting and raping increased.

 

The smell of petrol and paraffin were in the air and the night sky was lit up by soaring flames. Indians with cars were fleeing. It took two days for the authorities to get the situation under control. By this stage many shops and homes had been destroyed, 137 people killed and thousands more injured.

1959 Beerhall Riots: In the 1950s, rural Zulus moving to Durban for work sought out Cato Manor as a convenient place of residence.

The area quickly grew to accommodate this influx with 6000 shacks – housing around 50 000 people – erected in a matter of years.

To earn money, African women brewed and sold beer to male residents.

Nkosi elaborates in Mating Birds,” In Cato Manor, African women lived mainly by brewing an illicit concoction called skokiaan, which was often laced with methylated spirit to give it an extra kick. This dangerous and mind-destroying brew was then served daily to black workers, who, every evening, as soon as they left work, flocked to their favourite shebeens, where they thirstily imbibed the stuff”.

The Durban Municipality encountered problems controlling illegal brewing, which was in competition to their Municipal beer halls. Constant pass and liquor raids conducted by the police in Cato Manor agitated residents creating a potentially explosive situation.

By the mid-1950s, the area had become a political hotbed, with Chief Albert Luthuli garnering support for the African National Congress (ANC) by linking Cato Manor’s problems to the greater struggle against Apartheid.

Mi S’dumo Hlatshwayo, a child of Cato Manor and influenced by its politics, later went on to write struggle poetry – collected in Black Mamba Rising – that mobilized workers against the government.

Commenting on the classification of the Africans in Apartheid South Africa, Hlatshwayo wrote:

Today you’re called a Bantu,
Tomorrow you’re called a Communist
Sometimes you’re called a Native.
Today again you’re called a foreigner,
Today again you’re called a Terrorist

This random classification extended to place where the government would conveniently reclassify areas to suit their needs.

Cato Manor evictions: Durban’s white city-council felt threatened by this large community of politicized Africans and Indians on their doorstep and in 1959 Cato Manor was declared a white zone under The Group Areas Act (1950).

Ronnie Govender wrote, “It was right here in black-and-white. The impossible had happened. In the name of community development, in the name of group rights and group protection, in the name of western civilization, Cato Manor was declared a white area. All the families that had lived there for generations now had to move out of their homes, away from their own pieces of land.”

Forced evictions to the racially segregated KwaMashu, Umlazi and Chatsworth began. These were strenuously resisted by Cato Manor’s residents, with protest centred on the hated Municipal Beerhalls, symbols of the Apartheid government.

These riots, which later became known as the Beerhall Riots, culminated in the mob killing of nine policemen.

In response, Cato Manor was torn down – a community and its history destroyed.

Ronnie Govender wrote, “we have built our home, our schools, our temples, our mosques and our churches with love and hard work. It is wrong for the government, in which we have no say, to take from us what is legally ours. This is legalized robbery.”

Even though the area was now a ‘white zone’ it remained a wasteland with scattered Hindu shrines, the foundations of buildings and the occasional fruit tree to remind us of this once vibrant community.

 

Towards the end of the Apartheid, African and Indian families moved back to Cato Manor, reclaiming their expropriated land.

With no clear development policy, the area quickly grew into a shantytown of tin-shacks, shebeens and spaza-shops with many of the problems associated with Cato Manor of the 1950s.

 

Recognizing in Cato Manor an ideal opportunity to redress the wrongs of the past, the city of Durban embarked on an ambitious urban development project, receiving worldwide acclaim as a model for integrated development.

The area now boasts low-cost housing, a heritage centre, schools, libraries, community centres and clinics and is home to 90 000 people.” ~ courtesy Ulwazi.

For further information visit a third party website Cato Manor Tourism.